Family Matters

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

boys having a water balloon fight (sugarpond/flickr)

Four stories about families and children by classic and contemporary writers make us laugh, cry, gasp, and cringe.  

"Charles” is a surprisingly light hearted tale by Shirley Jackson, author of the much anthologized “The Lottery” which paints a dark picture of American rural life and mores.  However, like the more famous work, it packs a punch at the end.  The reader is the distinguished stage and screen actress Lois Smith.

Israeli writer and filmmaker Etgar Keret is also a master of the unexpected, as we hear in this tale of the toll a childhood prodigy takes on his parents in “Pride and Joy.”  The reader is Tony Award- winner Robert Sean Leonard (“The Invention of Love”).

Writer Jeanne Dixon had an idyllic childhood in the American West, and her charming story, “Blue Waltz with Coyotes,” in which a brother and sister have an adventure in the wild—and get to know each other.  The reader is SHORTS regular Mia Dillon.

We complete this program with Rick Moody’s poignant story, “Boys.”  In a style reminiscent of Virginia Woolf’s The Years it uses stream-of-consciousness and repetition to chronicle the life of two brothers from birth to adulthood in a brief but rich narrative.  The reader is Broadway and television star B.D. Wong.

 “Charles,” by Shirley Jackson read by Lois Smith

“Pride and Joy,” by Etgar Keret read by Robert Sean Leonard

“Blue Waltz with Coyotes,” by Jeanne Dixon read by Mia Dillon

“Boys,” by Rick Moody read by B.D. Wong


The musical interlude is “Thumbelina,” by Mark Isham.  The SELECTED SHORTS theme is Roger Kellaway’s “Come to the Meadow.”

For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please visit


 We’re interested in your response to these programs.  Please comment on this site or visit



Robert Sean Leonard, Lois Smith and B.D. Wong

Comments [1]

Melanie Eiger

I subscribe to selected shorts as a podcast. I missed Family Matters aired within the last month, but cannot access it as a podcast through Itunes.

The other free WNYC podcasts allow me to access archived programs, but selected shorts only gives me access to the most recent one.

How can I access archived programs?

Dear Ms. Eiger:

Unfortunately, copyright restrictions prevent us from archiving these programs, but they are available for a limited time as podcasts on iTunes,; and at (for five weeks from the original transmission). And
some individual stories have been made available on cassettes or CD anthologies; please see our website, for information about these.

Jul. 14 2010 11:25 AM

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